One of the first things you should get round to in Maastricht is buying a bike. You can visit one of the many bike shops to buy a new or secondhand bicycle. Alternatively, you could go for buying a secondhand bike online, volunteering for a bike, or bike rental and sharing. We discuss all of these options, and more!
Used bikes: Facebook or Marktplaats
It’s quite easy to pick up a secondhand bike through Facebook. Popular places to search are Buy / Sell a bike in Maastricht, Bikes and Furniture in Maastricht and Secondhand bikes Maastricht. But these are by no means the only pages.
Another option is Marktplaats, which is the Dutch equivalent to Ebay. There are plenty of offerings which, unlike those on the Facebook groups we mentioned, could be from any part of the Netherlands. Marktplaats is unfortunately only available in Dutch, but if you search fietsen (Dutch for ‘bikes’) and use an online translator, you should be fine.
While both of these options can be great (and cheap!), there are some rules of thumb to keep in mind whenever buying a secondhand bike online.
How to safely buy a used bike online
It’s always more risky to buy secondhand bikes from a person you don’t know, either because it’s easier for them to sell you crap disguised as something nice, or because they could be selling you a stolen bike. Buying a stolen bike is illegal, even if you weren’t aware it was stolen. So how can you avoid this?
Check the serial number
First, you can check whether the bike’s serial number is registered in the database on the RDW website. It’s a good sign if the bike is registered on the database and it has not been reported as stolen. If you do find the bike on the database, take a screenshot so that (if necessary) you can prove that you did your best to not buy a stolen bike!
Ask the seller for a guarantee
If the bike doesn’t come up on the database, you can ask the seller to write and sign a document guaranteeing that s/he is the rightful owner of the bike. This document should also state the serial number of the bike, as well as the date, location and price you bought the bike for. This way you cover yourself against any legal liability in the event that the bike you bought in good faith ends up being a stolen one.
Check the bike before buying
You should always try to see the bike in person before you decide to buy it. That way you can check if the bike is in good shape, and you can write down the seller’s contact details just in case something goes wrong. Be sensible when visiting a stranger’s house: take a trusted friend with you, or tell someone where you’re going. Also, do some basic research into what a decent quality (secondhand) bike looks like. Below, you can also find a section listing the things you should look for in a bike.
Volunteer for a bike
If you’re on a limited budget but are willing to do a little work in exchange for a bike, try the Fietsbank Maastricht. This is a foundation by volunteers who make bikes and bike repairs available for people on a limited income. You can also donate bikes and spare parts.
Another option you can look into is getting a Swapfiets. Swapfiets is a company that provides you with a rental bike for a fixed monthly price; yes, you pay every month and the bike isn’t yours, but it gets delivered to you once you order it, and the company guarantees that your bike will always work – this means that if you get a flat tyre, or any other problem, they will replace / fix your bike within two days.
There are also plenty of bike sharing options in Maastricht; these include Arriva and OV-fiets. Bike sharing can be a good option for those who won’t need a bike too often: you can simply take them out for the day or a couple of hours. Bear in mind that you’ll need an OV-chipkaart to use the OV-fiets.
What to look for in a bike
When you’re looking into buying a bike, it’s important to keep a few things in mind:
- First, your bike should have working lights and reflectors, both for the front and back – without these, you risk getting a fine.
- Next, before buying, you should always check that the brakes are in good working order, for obvious reasons.
- It is also a legal requirement for your bike to have a working bell.
Gears are definitely not a must but some people do opt for them (although Maastricht and the Netherlands in general are so flat that you will be just fine without them). Lastly, there is so much turnover in Maastricht that you will almost certainly be able to get a decent second-hand bike for a decent price; this is one of the cheaper options for bikes, and we think it’s reasonable to expect (if you start searching on time) for a used bike to cost you around €70.
A useful tip
The moment you buy a bike, it’s a good idea to a) take a photo of it (preferably with you in in the photo) and b) write down the bike’s serial number. These two things will come in very handy if your bike ever gets removed by the municipality or stolen.